We’ve all done it. Put back the produce in the grocery store that has a small cut or blemish for a more perfect fruit or veggie. An estimated 25 to 40 percent of all food grown in the United States goes to waste each year due to slight imperfections in produce, which occur during growing and harvesting.
Close to Campbell’s home in Southern New Jersey, the facts were even more startling. Just one local farmers’ cooperative dumps nearly 850,000 pounds of peaches each year at an estimated annual cost to these farmers of $80,000 in dumping fees.
What is wrong with these peaches? Absolutely nothing.
They are nutritionally sound and chock full of flavor, but may be undersized or have slight blemishes. Instead of becoming waste, these peaches have new life thanks to Just Peachy salsa.
In 2012, the Food Bank of South Jersey was trying to meet the demands of a growing food-insecure population in Southern New Jersey while experiencing federal funding cuts. When they learned of the local farmers’ cooperative’s extra produce, they had a peach of an idea.
They came to Campbell to create a peach salsa using the discarded peaches. A cross-functional team of Campbell employees developed the recipe and production process while more than 100 employee volunteers helped to box and package the product. Approximately 160,000 jars of Just Peachy have been sold in more than 25 local retail outlets, including select ShopRite stores, since the program began in 2012.
The result? More than $250,000 in revenue for the Food Bank and its hunger relief programs. In addition, local farmers are saving dumping fees, peaches are being diverted from landfill and Campbell employee volunteers are using their skills to impact the local community.
Production is now underway for this season’s Just Peachy run. Approximately 37,000 jars will be made including 24 oz. two-packs, which will be available for purchase in five Costco Wholesale locations in New Jersey. For a complete listing of where to purchase Just Peachy please visit: http://www.foodbanksj.org/JustPeachySalsa.html
As Val Traore, CEO of the Food Bank of South Jersey, puts it, “This may be one small jar, but it is one giant step in the battle against hunger.”